Waiting tables is a great way to make a living or to supplement your income when going to school or pursuing another career, as many actors and celebrities do. The work is sometimes stressful and competitive, but it can be rewarding, too. Flexible hours and generous tips add to the job’s desirability. The key to success as a server is strongly dependent on following certain guidelines.
A good server knows there menu and the ingredients used in the dishes. Although many guests know what they want, some have no idea and look to the food server for suggestions. Sometimes, people have dietary restrictions that must be met. It is important to taste as many of the items on the menu as possible so you are knowledgeable in helping the guest make decisions. It's also a good idea to ask the chef if there is anything you can tell the guest about the dish. Knowing the menu also includes being knowledgeable about the drink menu. A good server knows the ingredients in basic cocktails. Correctly opening a bottle of wine or champagne at a table is especially important.
Guests can tell if a server likes people and enjoys there work. If you are moody, you set the tone for the table and set up a potentially poor experience for both you and the guest. A relaxed, confident smile creates the feeling that you know what you are doing and are comfortable working with people. Some guests want to carry on lengthy conversations, while others just want to eat and leave. In time, you develop the ability to read a table. It is best to avoid personal conversations.
Most guests are pleasant, respectful and courteous. However, there is the occasional guest who is hard to please, demanding or who has had one too many cocktails. As a food server, it is always in your best interest to remain calm, tactful and not argue in these situations. You represent yourself and the restaurant with integrity when you stay in control. (work.chron.com)
The ability to handle multiple tasks at the same time is typical for a good server. You may have five full tables to serve and are short on bussing staff. It is essential that you remain cool under pressure, because your anxiety is felt by your guests and other servers. This negatively affects the room’s atmosphere. (fohboh.com)
Anticipating guests’ needs, checking periodically but not hovering, staying focused, listening well and remaining available for eye contact so a guest can get your attention are crucial attributes. Attention to detail and organization are hallmarks of a good food server.
Servers are challenged to carry a lot of items. Cash, credit card receipts, order pads, specials, POS swipe cards are typically stuffed into a ill-suited check presenter. Not only doesn't this make a bad impression to the guest, but doesn't this lack of organization ultimately effect the quality of service? As a server, it's hard to stay organized, especially during a crazy, Saturday-night dinner rush. There have been a few times where credit card slips (with un-entered tips) have been tossed out, on accident of course, and the server essentially worked "for free" instead of receiving the 15% or 20% tip the patron may have left. This definitely affects customer service because the few times when it does happen, the server is immediately bummed and some can't fully focus on the rest of the shift. This is why the ISERV server book is an essential tool for servers.
Restaurants look to hire servers who are flexible and display a strong sense of energy. You must be quick on your feet to take care of several tables at the same time. There are times when a restaurant or bar gets very busy and requires a high energy level from the server. You may be on your feet for many hours at a time without a break. A good food server finds a way to keep smiling and friendly throughout the entire shift.